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Dengue Follows Zika Virus to Miami

Just when residents in the Miami area thought the need to fear mosquito-borne viruses was over, Florida health officials revealed that they have identified a locally-transmitted case of Dengue virus.

Just when residents in the Miami area thought the need to fear mosquito-borne viruses was over, Florida health officials revealed that they have identified a locally-transmitted case of Dengue virus.

According to media reports, state Department of Health (DOH) workers testing thousands of Miamians for the Zika virus, following an outbreak there over the summer, identified a case of Dengue virus which like Zika is carried by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Last week, the DOH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials announced that there had been no new locally-transmitted cases of the Zika virus in the Miami area since the end of August.

Closely associated with Zika because of the mosquito connection, the Dengue virus can actually have more significant health implications for those infected. The former virus has been linked with birth defects to babies born to infected pregnant women; the latter, though, has a mortality rate of 3%, although this rate varies based on disease severity.

The new Dengue case is actually the third one confirmed during the current mosquito season that has been traced back to local transmission in Florida. The earlier cases involved a Floridian from another part of the state and a visitor from Connecticut.

To date, the Florida state DOH has tested more than 8,000 residents in the Miami area for Zika virus, after an outbreak there resulted in more than 125 cases of the virus, which has plagued Brazil and the Caribbean. Miami-Dade County officials released the locations of five areas where Aedes aegypti mosquitoes have been trapped as part of vector surveillance efforts there. No new Zika-carrying mosquitoes have been identified since September 9th, and CDC officials have indicated the vector control efforts—including pesticide/larvicide spraying—have been effective.

“The Department of Health instructed the County, on multiple occasions, to withhold information related to the exact location of the Zika-positive mosquito traps,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez said in a statement to NBC News. “Now that the County has been granted permission to release this information… we will disclose the locations of any such traps that test positive for Zika to both the property owner and to anyone else who inquires.”

The DOH has recently faced criticism regarding its transparency—or lack thereof—during the state’s Zika crisis.